With 2020, a difficult year on and off the pitch, now in the record books, Cherries commentator Kris Temple takes a look back at the highs and lows of the past 12 months.
The unique year took in a month’s-long halt caused by a global pandemic, relegation from the Premier League, a change in management and a strong start to the current Championship campaign – and those are just the headlines.
At the forefront for the matches has been Temple, whose voice has accompanied the action throughout, and here the BBC Solent and afcbTV Live commentator picks out his most memorable moments and personnel.
2020: Goal of the year
I should probably pre-cursor this all by saying that, because of the fragmented and disappointing end to last season, there’s going to be a definite slant towards the latter portion of 2020 in this review!
With that in mind, I’m going to have to vote for Lewis Cook’s strike against Reading in November. Notable of course for being his first Cherries goal (and first for anyone for an eternity!), but also when one pings into the top corner off the underside of the bar, it’s always memorable. It was also a crucial goal in a top-of-the-table game, so this one has everything going for it!
2020: Best Cherries match
I feel I do need to include something from last season at some point in this, so let’s go for the 4-1 home win over Leicester, in the penultimate home game in July, that gave people belief that an escape might, might, just be possible!
After a good draw against Tottenham, it was a second-half performance that I don’t think anyone saw coming. At half time, I remember saying to people in the press box that “That’s it, relegation.” But from somewhere, they produced an amazing turnaround, aided by a red card.
The 4-2 win over Reading would get my vote as the most entertaining match of this season, albeit - much like the Leicester game above - Cherries didn’t show up until half time!
2020: Most improved Bournemouth player
My vote last year went with Diego Rico, and I think he’s improved further still in the last 12 months.
It’s a second nod for Lewis Cook on this page though this time around. In the last few months, Jason Tindall seems to have found the key to him, which is to play him in that central midfield anchor role. Lewis likes to get about the pitch, putting his tackles in, and has also turned up in some great defensive positions at times.
With the game in front of him, he’s a sublime passer of the ball, and often in the Premier League he didn’t get afforded the time and space on the pitch to let us see that.
The change in level - and a run of consistent selection - has definitely brought him into the game more in a role that suits him, and I think he’s now become a first pick when previously he couldn’t be guaranteed a game.
It would be remiss also not to give a nod to Asmir Begovic in this section too, albeit his improvement has been this season, rather than the calendar year as a whole. An incredible comeback from what looked a lost Cherries cause.
2020: Biggest positive
It has to be the way that the team has started this season, and put themselves in a great position to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking in 2021.
This is a very, very competitive Championship division, but - for want of a better cliche - you have to strike while the iron is hot, and in the Cherries’ case, keeping hold of the likes of David Brooks, Arnaut Danjuma and others means they have a squad rich in talent.
You can add, as part of that, the way that Jason Tindall has adapted to life in the hotseat and imprinted his methodology on the club and the squad.
It’s also hugely satisfying to see academy products to come through and play their part, with the likes of Sam Surridge, Jack Simpson, Jaidon Anthony, Nnamdi Ofoborh and Jordan Zemura all having impressed when seen.
As a club who’ve had to develop a talented academy structure at pace, to catch up with the first team, it’s huge credit to Shaun Cooper, Alan Connell, and previously Steve Purches and Mark Molesley et al. for the work they’ve done.
2020: Biggest negative
Relegation is a given here, so I’m going to go a little deeper, and say the moment that Sam Surridge’s late equaliser was ruled out by VAR at home to Southampton in the final home game last season.
It had all the characteristics of being a romantic, potentially-season-changing moment. Stoppage time, local boy, academy product, scoring his first goal, an equaliser against the local neighbours, to rescue a point that could’ve been the difference between staying in the Premier League or not.
And then VAR intervened, and scrubbed it out.
I think, to me, that moment was more deflating than the actual relegation the following weekend, which had a whiff of inevitability about it by then.
Having commentated at full throttle on the Surridge “goal”, to then see it wiped out, was a huge adrenaline crash. I was on the canvas afterwards, and that was just as a commentator!
I vividly remember after the game seeing chairman Jeff Mostyn sat on his own in the stadium, gazing across the pitch at nothing in particular, absolutely stunned, and drained. As high as VAR left one for Gosling’s goal at Chelsea, this felt as low… And then some.
Away from the football itself, having no fans in stadia has been desperately frustrating, de-energising, and emotionless.
2020: Best signing
Officially, I only have a choice between Roro Riquelme and Cameron Carter-Vickers here, and seeing as CCV hasn’t featured yet, it’s a no-contest! Roro wins by default, as the only signing of 2020 to feature on the pitch!
So, again, I’m going to bend the rules, and say Asmir Begovic, who feels a bit like a new signing bearing in mind he was away elsewhere, and his Cherries career was seemingly over.
If anyone had come in for him in the off-season, then there’s a chance he wouldn’t have worn a Cherries shirt again. Full credit to him for the way he’s applied himself since he’s been back, and credit too to Tindall for wiping the slate clean and realising that he had a very good goalkeeper on his books.
Asmir has been absolutely outstanding, and is showing the sort of form that earned him a career at Chelsea in the past.
2020: Best moment
I’m going for the 3-2 win over Blackburn on the opening day of the season, when I think everyone was delighted to get off to a winning start in Tindall’s first game as a manager.
It was a cracking game too, and an early glimpse into the helter-skelter world of the Championship!
After such a tumultuous couple of months at the club, with relegation and the change of management, this was exactly the start that was needed. The first game with fans back in the stadium was also a heady day, albeit they’re gone again for now.
If I’m scratching around last season, then I’d say taking the lead at both Old Trafford and Anfield were enjoyable moments, if not the final scorelines!
2021: New Year’s resolution
Last year in this piece, I resolved to stop saying “Goodness me” or “Wow” in my commentary, and I think I’ve largely managed to stick to that!
This year I’d better go for stopping nagging Willo so much, mainly off-air! We’re very different characters in terms of the way we do things, and he’s pulled me up in recent months for getting on at him.
I think the way 2020 went as a whole, and the lack of fans and generally alien environments we were working in are to blame - 2020 was officially the year of grumpy Kris. I like to think I’m usually relaxed, so my aim for 2021 is to get back to that!
2021: Player to look out for
I've really liked the brief look we’ve had so far at Jaidon Anthony.
Comfortable off the wing, has banged in goals in the academy set-up playing as a striker, and looks like he’s full of the confidence and belief needed in a creative player, to take people on and make things happen.
He contributed a great assist on debut, and I hope we get to see a little more of him in the second half of the Championship season, and maybe in an FA Cup run too.